777 I Street, NW
From a press release:
“As its fourth anniversary approaches, Chef Victor Albisu announces changes to the interior and menu at Del Campo, his Washington, D.C. South American grill. Since opening in April 2013, Del Campo has brought the lifestyle and food culture of Argentina, Uruguay, Chile and Peru to the nation’s capital. Now, with an annual milestone approaching, Albisu is expanding the restaurant’s geographic ambitions to explore even more of Latin America’s unique flavors, while updating the dining room with dramatic touches that better match the cooking’s contemporary energy and flair. Updates in the dining room and kitchen don’t mean a total overhaul; the restaurant’s most popular features, its traditional asado, Del Campo at Dusk rooftop parties and seasonal cooking classes are stronger than ever.
“To anyone walking into Del Campo for the first time in a while, it’s going to look like an abrupt change,” Albisu says. “But this has been more of an evolution that has been taking place since we opened. Restaurants like Del Campo always reflect the passions and interests of their chefs, and those things grow as we explore and learn. Del Campo has never been a static concept, and my South American travels have really opened my eyes to the long existing interconnectivity of South American, European, Asian and North American cooking. We figured that the fourth anniversary was a great opportunity to freshen up the dining room and put some of the more interesting and adventurous dishes we have been playing with over the last few years front and center on the menu.”
The dining room’s most dramatic change is through subtraction: white tablecloths have come off in favor of new handmade hardwood tables, creating a more intimate dining environment. The walls are now adorned with bold graphical elements, including acid washed cowhides brought from Argentina, a decorative cow skull painting in the rear dining space and a rose mural decorating the bar area. Maggie O’Neil, of Swatchroom, is behind the look, which includes vivid green tiles accentuating the asado bar, and a dark, textured surface surrounding the grand, back-lit mirror behind the bar. Deep, rich colors have remade the private dining room and a panoramic landscape now conceals the room’s television when not in use.
While the grill, and by extension the asado menu, will always be the heart of the Del Campo dining experience, the exact shape of that asado has grown from an all-beef expression of classic Argentinean cooking to something that embraces an expanded selection of South American flavors. By making the menu more accessible and shareable, drawing on influences like vibrant indigenous cooking and regional cuisine, Del Campo seeks to bring some fun and excitement to the more serious interpretations of South American grill culture.
Shareable new asado options include lamb and pork mixed grills, which allow guests to explore selections in which the cuts and preparations change weekly. Sample options include lamb chop and skewered tongue anticuchos, or a bone-in pork loin, cured for 14 days and then grilled and served with an aji amarillo-based barbecue sauce and grilled citrus mostarda. Other dishes designed for a group include a whole lobster grilled with rocoto chili butter, grilled prawns with saffron chimichurri, crispy yucca with pecorino and red chili aioli and the Chinatown Chirashi, a massive plate of citrus-cooked tuna, corvina scallop, caviar, togarashi deviled quail eggs and smoked shoyu brown butter..
South America’s many Asian influences are reflected in new dishes like a grilled duck breast served with preserved orange, Szechuan peppercorn and honey, and hot grilled calamari ceviche dressed with aji yuzu kosho. Yellow alkaline pasta, made in-house, is the star of a dish of Street Noodles served with burnt bok choy and dressed with a sambal made from Peruvian and Chilean chilies.
Contemporary takes on traditional South American cuisine remain a menu staple. Old world techniques and ingredients collide with new world flavors in trend-setting dishes like green chili confit duck empanadas with burnt shishito aioli, beef tenderloin ceviche with horseradish Leche de Tigre and squid ink gnocchi with crispy chorizo and smoked uni butter. Del Campo’s delightful Peruvian Chicken, previously only served as a half bird, is now available served whole for the table, spatchcocked, slow roasted and finished on the grill.
Del Campo’s brunch, no longer a typical a la carte menu, now offers an asado buffet with smoked brisket, roasted pork shoulder and Peruvian chicken carving stations. An antipasto bar featuring choices like the beloved bacon, egg and cheese empanadas, souffléd pancakes, charred fruit and a charcuterie and cheese board stars, while sides, including vegetarian pasqualina tarts, grilled greens and grilled jalapeno mashed potatoes, round out the meal. Those brunching at the bar can enjoy bar-only specials like smoked aji amrarillo dry-aged beef ribs served with fried eggs and salsa criolla.
Del Campo at Dusk
Del Campo at Dusk returns in 2017 with its series of themed summer rooftop parties, offering panoramic views of downtown D.C. along with live music, a full bar and delicious food. Tickets are $35 per person including food and access to a cash bar. All events begin on Fridays at 6pm.